PHOENIX — Major League Baseball isn't coming back yet, but players around the league are starting to get ready for a return. The Arizona Diamondbacks began individual workouts for a small number of players Thursday at Salt River Fields and Friday at Chase Field. The organization said it is following the guidance and direction of Major League Baseball and is making sure to keep players as separated as possible during training.
The Tampa Bay Rays are reportedly returning to Tropicana Field on Monday, while Marlins, Cardinals and Yankees players have been working out at their respective spring training facilities in Florida. According to the Seattle Times, the Mariners will open the doors to Peoria Sports Complex on Monday or Tuesday to a limited number of players and staff.
Before we get too far ahead ourselves, these are just workouts to get ready in hopes of a formal return with Spring Training 2.0, but the players and owners still have a lot of ground to make up in their negotiations.
Thursday the MLB Players Association responded to the owners 67-page return to play protocols, reportedly wanting more protections for high-risk players, more frequent testing than the proposed multiple times per week, and clear protocols for a positive test. According to ESPN, players also felt some of the safety measures outlined were over-the-top and wanted leniency among certain things like pre-and-post game therapies, even showering.
At the end of the day, money is the ultimate bargaining chip and the players don’t want a 50/50 revenue split. Certainly not after already agreeing with the owners to prorated salaries back in March. An economic proposal from the league to the players association is expected in the coming days.